My speech at the unity protest against the Nazis and Tommy Robinson – 14 July 2018

Below is a transcript of my speech that I delivered at the unity protest against the Nazis and Tommy Robinson supporters on Saturday 14 July 2018.

Sisters and brothers, yesterday, we marched, in our hundreds of thousands, against the World’s number one racist, Donald Trump.  

Today, In this Carnival of Resistance, we are standing up to Britain’s number one racist, Tommy Robinson and his neo Nazi supporters.  

I am a Labour Councillor in Haringey and we have a proud tradition of standing up to fascists in Haringey.  41 years ago at the Battle of Wood Green, Haringey Councillors including a certain Jeremy Corbyn and the wider community came together and resisted the National Front who had threatened to march in our area. 

The people of Haringey said to the fascists, “these are our streets and you do not belong here”. Up and down the country, that is how communities organised and defeated the National Front. 

Not just just the National Front, we defeated their successors, the BNP. It’s extraordinary to think that only in 2006, Barking and Dagenham had elected 12 BNP Councillors.  

12 years later, not only did the community in Barking and Dagenham get rid of the BNP, they elected 12 Muslim Councillors in this year’s local elections.  That is what the racists do not like! They also hate that Londoners elected a Muslim Mayor of London. 

And, I say to the racists who give Sadiq Khan vile islamophobic abuse on a daily basis: not only did Londoners elect Sadiq Khan as their mayor, they gave him the biggest personal mandate in British Political history. 

1,310,143 Londoners voted for Sadiq Khan.  

And this is my challenge to the fascists: instead of dishing out islamophobic abuse to Sadiq Khan on Twitter like cowards, put your own candidate against him in the next mayoral election. 

Come on if you think you are hard enough, stand against Sadiq in 2020! 

And Londoners will send you packing with your tail between your legs.  Sadly, it’s not just the fascists that give out vile, islamophobic abuse to Sadiq Khan. We saw the disgraceful Tory MP Michael Fabricant send out the most vile islamophobic tweet targeting Sadiq Khan. 

At the last mayoral election, Zac Goldsmith and the Conservative Party ran the most hateful, racist election campaign in living memory against Sadiq Khan. Islamophobia is rampant in the Conservative Party. 

I back Muslim Council of Britain’s call for an enquiry into islamophobia in the Conservative Party. 

I say this to the Conservative Party, when you turn a blind eye to islamophobia and make it mainstream, the fascists take it as carte blanche to murder Muslims on our streets. 

Last year, a fascist killed Makram Ali outside Finsbury Park Mosque.  

And a few years ago, fascists killed Mohammed Saleem in Birmingham.  

Never again do we want to see the killing of Muslims on our streets. 

Never again do we want to see the fascists marching on our streets and giving Nazi salutes. 

Of course, “never again” is what Europe said after the second world war following the genocide of six million European Jews.  

But, we had the genocide of European Muslims in Bosnia in our lifetime. Only this week, we marked 23 years since the massacre in Srebrenica when more than 8 thousand Muslim men and boys were massacred.

I am afraid with the rise of far right groups and racists across Europe, we might see another genocide. We see the demonisation of migrants and refugees every day in Europe. 

Theresa May masterminded the hostile environment policy against immigrants. And Donald Trump putting children in cages or concentration camps is just a trial run.

He has emboldened and inspired racists all across Europe and the Western world. If we want to avert another genocide on European soil, we must stay united and organise because there are more of us than them.

Goodbye to Tottenham Green – 4 July 2018

4 July 2018 was my last meeting as Secretary of Tottenham Green Branch Labour Party (BLP). I stepped down, because I would now be attending branch meetings over in Noel Park where I am Councillor. It has been an absolute pleasure serving Tottenham Green BLP as its Secretary during 2017/18. I also served as chair of the BLP the year before.

I have made many great friends in Tottenham Green. We took part in important campaigns from opposing the Haringey Development Vehicle to advocating on behalf of the Latin American community in Wards Corner. As can be seen from the pictures, we also declared Tottenham Green a Trump-free zone in advance of his arrival in the UK.

I have been a grassroots Labour activist serving as a branch officer since I joined the Party in 2010. I was twice elected as chair of Noel Park BLP between 2010 and 2012 where I cut my teeth in grassroots Labour politics. Being elected by your peers is always a huge honour.

I have now been elected by members of the public to serve as their local representative in Noel Park. This is an even bigger privilege. This takes precedence over internal Party positions. This is why I also decided not to re-run for the position of Tottenham Constituency Labour Party’s Black and Asian Minority Ethnic (BAME) Officer. I served in this role in 2017/18 and ensured that voices of BAME members were central to Haringey Labour Party.

Refugee Week: Solidarity Trip to Calais – 23 June 2018

As part of Refugee Week 2018, I went with my Councillor colleagues, Peray Ahmet, Matthew White and Mike Hakata and other activists from Haringey Stand Up to Racism to help refugees stranded in Calais and Dunkirk through Care4Calais. Thanks to everyone who donated to Care4Calais, we raised over £1500. This will support vital work that Care4Calais are doing to stand by refugees and treat them with dignity.

We went to a distribution point in Dunkirk where hundreds of people are staying in tents in the woods and in an open field. There are children, women and young men who have fled wars, persecution and extreme poverty. They have no food or sanitation. They rely entirely on the generosity of volunteers and charities that come to help them. Through Care4Calais, we gave each person a hygiene kit containing basic essentials that they will need on a day to day basis.

This was my second solidarity trip to Calais. I personally benefit more from these trips than people who are stranded there. I realise how fortunate I am to live in a country without persecution where I do not fear for my life or my safety. I am free to express my views and live my life freely. These are things that we take for granted. For the refugees fleeing war, persecution and violence, they just want a chance to live and enjoy what we all enjoy. They want the simple things in life. Yet, our governments in the West have turned their backs on refugees. They are not fulfilling their obligations under the Refugee Convention.

My speech at the March for Windrush – 5 May 2018

Below is the speech I delivered outside Downing Street at the ‘March for Windrush’ as a newly elected Councillor.

I am honoured to have been elected yesterday to serve the people of Haringey.

And I am extremely proud to be on this stage today to make my first public appearance as a newly elected councillor and to say that I will be working every day to make Haringey a hostile environment for racists.

As long as I am Councillor, there will be no hostility towards refugees.

There will be no hostility towards asylum seekers and

There will be no hostility towards migrants.

Now, let’s turn to the disgraceful and ridiculous mainstream media coverage of the election.

They are painting this as some kind of a defeat for the Labour Party.

Labour actually won 1018 more seats than the Tories across the country. That is 1018 seats more than the Tories.

What they are not covering is that a racist Tory Councillor has just been re-admitted into the Conservative Party so that they can take control of Pendle Council.

The Tories have form in running racist election campaigns. You will remember the last London Mayoral election – the most racist election campaign in living memory that the Tories ran against Sadiq Khan.

In the 1964 by-election, the Tories ran a campaign with the slogan “If you want a coloured for your neighbour, vote Labour”. They actually used the ‘N’ word in reference to Windrush citizens who had to the UK to rebuild this country after the Second World War.

A few years after that, we had the infamous Rivers of Blood speech from Enoch Powell.

In a follow-up speech, Enoch Powell proposed a Ministry of Repatriation to send Commonwealth Cizitens back to their country of origin.

We are seeing a manifestation of that policy in Theresa May’s Go Home vans and in her ‘hostile environment’ policy.

Let’s not make any mistake about it. The hostile environment is a racist policy.

The hostile environment has treated British Citizens, the Windrush Generation in the most despicable manner, destroying lives and denying their human rights.

To give you one example, the hostile environment has refused to treat British Citizens on the NHS.

When the founding fathers of the NHS, Nye Bevan and Clement Attlee set it up, they set it up with the principle that access to healthcare is a fundamental human right.

And to refuse NHS treatment to the Windrush Generation is to deny them their human right and to treat them as less than human.

That is what racism looks like.

That is what slavery was about.

And that is what colonialism was about.

And from this stage, I would like to re-iterate our demands to Sajid Javid and Theresa May:

  • We demand that the 2014 Immigration act is repealed
  • We demand an immediate end to deportations and detention of Commonwealth Citizens
  • We demand that all those deported be brought back to Britain immediately
  • We demand a guarantee to protect of all Commonwealth Citizens and their human rights
  • We demand that all those affected in any way be given compensation for deportation, threats of deportation, detention, loss of housing, jobs, benefits and denial of NHS treatment.
  • We demand an immediate end to the hostile environment for any immigrants.

Thank you vert much for listening. Peace and solidarity to you all. 

My election as Labour Councillor of Noel Park, Haringey – 4 May 2018

Noel Park is considered to be a safe ward, but was not the case before 2010. That year, I was part of the team which helped to elect three Labour Councillors whereas there was only one previously. I also served as chair of Noel Park Branch Labour Party between 2010 and 2012. It is where I cut my teeth in grassroots politics. It is also where I have strong family connections. I used to live there with my parents and they continue to live there today.

It was a privilege to have been selected to represent the Labour Party as a candidate in the 2018 local elections. I ran an energetic election campaign speaking to residents in Noel Park along with my fellow candidates, Peray Ahmet and Emina Ibrahim.

The local elections count took place at Alexandra Palace on Friday 4 May 2018. I was mostly waiting around all day to find out the result. At around 5pm, it was announced that I had won along with my co-candidates. It is a huge honour to have the opportunity to serve residents in Noel Park.

 

Haringey Stand Up to Racism Fundraising Dinner – 29 April 2018

On Sunday 29 April, anti racist campaigners from Haringey gathered to break bread together at Wightman Road Mosque with David Lammy MP giving the keynote speech on the fight to get justice for the Windrush Generation.

Seema Chandwani, co-convener of Haringey Stand Up To Racism announced that the fundraising dinner raised over £1000 which will enable it to fund important campaigns to fight racism.

I spoke about the sharp rise in Islamophobia in recent years. It is 25 years since the murders of Stephen Lawrence and Ruhullah Aramesh. Those racist murders have not stopped – Mohammed Saleem was brutally murdered five years ago as was Makram Ali outside Finsbury Park Mosque last year.

I showed a video of my recent Refugee Solidarity Trip to Calais with Haringey Stand Up To Racism activists. The evening ended with an auction of historic documents: two Anti Racist Alliance placards featuring Ruhullah Aramesh and Stephen Lawrence.

It was great to take a break from the intense local election campaign and spend a fine evening with comrades and anti racist campaigners. Thanks to Wightman Road Mosque for providing the venue and donating all the lovely food for the fundraiser.

Refugee Solidarity Trip to Calais Video

In February 2018, I made the most remarkable trip with activists from Haringey Stand Up to Racism to Calais to express solidarity with refugees stranded there. We took donated winter clothing and over £2000 in donations which we handed over to Care4Calais.

Calais4Calais is doing a remarkable job supporting refugees. For me, the most important thing they do is letting refugees know that we have not forgotten them and that we stand by them. At the same time, we continue to fight to change government policy so that refugees are allowed to come into the UK.

Below is a video of the Refugee Solidarity Trip to Calais.

 

 

My election as Vice Chair of the Young Labour Lawyers – 12 March 2018

At the AGM of the Young Labour Lawyers (YLL) on 12 March 2018, I was delighted to have been elected as a vice chair for the coming year. The YLL is a part of the Society of Labour Lawyers. Many of my friends and comrades eqnuired if I still qualified as ‘young’ to which I replied that I am not exactly ‘old’. However, the name ‘Young Labour Lawyers’ is a bit of a misnomer, because it welcomes any legal practitioner with less than 10 years’ post qualification experience. It has nothing to do with age. Not surprisingly, the name of the organisation did come up at the AGM as an issue. I can see it featuring prominently in the forthcoming steering group meetings.

The Society of Labour Lawyers website published the following brief report of the AGM, which elected other officers to sit on the YLL steering group:

“Young Labour Lawyers’ AGM took place on Monday night, 12 March 2018, at Committee Room 12 in the Houses of Parliament. 

In her Chair’s report, Deeba Syed encouraged members to get involved with the SLL groups in the year ahead. She reviewed the year: from our well-attended Conference Event and annual dinner with Gloria de Piero MP; and signposted her plans for the months ahead, including: campaigning in Wandsworth, meetings with Labour MPs and assembling a team for the London Legal Walk.

After a strong challenge, Deeba was elected Chair for a second year and has pledged to concentrate on improving access to the legal profession.

Two Vice-Chairs were elected: Daniel Jones, who will focus on a mentoring scheme and arranging events, such as the SLL City Group’s launch on 21 March; and Khaled Moyeed, who will take the lead on improving YLL’s membership and outreach.

YLL’s new secretary is Axel Landin, who echoed the energy and enthusiasm in the room for lots more events with a panel focus.

YLL will meet for a steering committee meeting next week, on 20 March. If you have any ideas for events over the next year or can help us campaign on improving access to a career in law, please contact younglabourlawyers@gmail.com. We are particularly keen to increase the female representation on the committee.”